Changing weather patterns in Tanzania have caused a rising wave of migration from rural to urban areas, with thousands of youths flocking into Dar es Salaam, the largest city, in search of work.
Most of the young people come from areas of the country hit by long spells of dry weather that has affected agricultural activities, according to authorities.
The Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner’s Office estimates that every day more than 100 young adults (aged 18-35) enter Dar es Salaam, whose name means harbour of peace.
Climate change is one of the principal reasons that people are abandoning their traditional livelihood of farming, experts say.
Agriculture still plays a pivotal role in Tanzania’s national economy, accounting for more than a quarter of GDP and employing about 80 percent of the country’s population of 46 million, according to the ministry of agriculture, food security and cooperatives.
But farmers have been plagued by low harvests as a result of increasing extreme weather, as well as land degradation and lack of reliable markets.
Swedi Omary was barely 18 years old when he came to Dar a year ago. A combination of poverty and poor prospects for making a living forced him to leave his village in the central region of Singida, about 600 km (375 miles) west of Dar es Salaam.
Omary’s father died in 2008. His mother, a farmer, saw her harvests of beans, sorghum and maize dry up as a result of worsening droughts.
The family’s ordeal led to Omary travelling to Dar – a 10-hour trip by train - in a bid to find work so that he could support his mother and two sisters.
Omary, who arrived in October 2011, got a job in about a week selling domestic products imported from China. He now works on the street and door to door, hawking items ranging from curtain rails and car accessories to utensils such as blenders. Despite tough competition, he now earns enough to send some money home, he said.
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